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Today, Environment Minister John Gerretsen introduced Ontario’s first Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading bill into the Legislature.

This enabling legislation will allow Ontario to fulfil its obligations under the Western Climate Initiative, and under its GHG agreement with Quebec. It will supplement existing authority under thEnvironmental Protection Act  and authorize the province to:

  1. develop regulations to cap greenhouse gases from industrial sources,  
  2. develop a trading system to assist industry with market based tools to meet assigned caps economically and efficiently, and  
  3. ‘plug-in’ the Ontario system with those being developed in Canada and the US.

Linkages with other jurisdictions and a potential broader North American system is expected to provide emission reductions a lower cost, spur the pace of innovation and allow for larger trading volumes and liquidity. 

Amendments to the Environmental Protection Act will allow the province to distribute greenhouse gas allowances by auction, free of charge or by other means. 

Comments on the Bill may be submitted until July 26, 2009, at EBR 010-6467.

The Minister also released a discussion paper, called “Moving Forward: A Greenhouse Gas Cap-and-Trade System for Ontario”, to guide consultations over the summer on the design of Ontario’s cap-and-trade system. The system is expected to be up and running by 2012.

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